What is Emotionally Focused Therapy?

Founded by Drs. Sue Johnson and Les Greenberg, Emotionally Focused Therapy or EFT is based on attachment theory, which defines the incredible emotional bonds that we develop with other people, originally with our parents and then with our adult partners. EFT is experiential, simply learning through experience and draws on the emotions involved in our relationships.

More specifically, a primary EFT premise is that couples have relationship problems when they’ve experienced emotional disconnection with their partner at key moments, which then leads to struggles with negative cycles of criticism and anger or withdrawal and shut down (among other emotions and reactions). The goal of EFT is to help couples overcome these negative cycles, re-establish their connection, and strengthen their emotional bond.

Research has shown that EFT is highly effective. The International Center for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy website lists several noted research publications.